A Princess of Mars is one of those classical pulp science fiction that was purely original and basic of all the science fiction in this world. Its the story of a man who find himself on the other side of the planet and found friendship and love among the hardened and unforgiving terrains of Mars.
I had problems reading this book. The language is very modern and relatable to our average fiction. But mostly because Edgar’s unimaginative archetypal character in John Carter which can be overembelished as a gender specific reading alike to He-Man, Tarzan (which was written by the same author too and Tarzan was coincidently, a mirror image to Carter, obviously), Hulk, Avatar and etc.
I’ve watched and read every kind of fantasy and science fiction that does revolved around this book, I find the book as a whole is very predictable since everyone uses his idea. There were some things that nagged at me especially with Dejah Thoris insufferable damsel in distress role. Add to that, she’s (and EVERYONE) is naked on the planet which somehow given me a sick thought about the novel being considered as a soft-porn in literature form. It’s pulp fiction anyway.
But I had to take an account that this book is the father of everything in inter-dimensional science fiction so I do let things slip out of my radar. The book is decent and easy to be read by anyone. There’s plot progression filled with action even without character progression. There was also subtext between racial discontentment, anti-feminism, skin colourings and etc which does give the book some sort of a superficial quality in a reader’s guilty pleasure.
Although I read romance, I do hated the abrupt pacing in this book and the objectification of Dejah Thoris by male perspectives. This book is considered as a Twilight romance novel for boys and how appropriate it was to be called that. I made an essay just to point out that the theme basically support the entire story structure. Sort of Han Solo and Leia story arc without Luke and Death Star scenes.
It is a harmless fun but if you want to find some sort of meaningfulness in this book series like Frank Herbert’s Dune did. Well, you’re out of luck.
Romantic Love in the Heart of Mars
Most of the conflicts that affected John Carter’s character motivation in A Princess of Mars is “Love”. In the beginning, John Carter had no love for his life on Earth until when he found himself in Mars. Once there, he achieved the love and companionship from his caretaker, Sola and a Martian-equivalent of a dog, Woola. This provide some sense of emotional familiarity and solace in the barbaric world.
All of his time with the Tharks, he noted that love was thoroughly absent in the community. The immediate attraction to the princess caused Carter to identify with her with the idea of romance. His desires caused Carter to pronounce his premature love for Dejah. However, we was cruelly rejected due to Carter’s ignorance of her customs.
While still pining for Dejah, Sola gave him a story of tragic love. The Tharks had abhor the idea of love but it can exist among them as Sola is revealed as a product of her parent’s forbidden love. This portrayed her as a symbolism of love which exist even in the most clinical and cold-hearted of creatures. This had brought Carter’s motivation to escape with his friends and loved ones along with him. This show of bravely seemed to have bought Dejah’s to reciprocate his feelings for him.
But their escape brought further conflict which Carter sacrificed himself for love of Dejah. Months between them when he found his love again in Zodanga. However Dejah was promised to the Zodanga’s prince in a political alliance. Recklessly, he produced a grand gesture of love by raising an army against the enemy kingdom to rescue the damsel princess and thus effectively winning her hand.
However, their relationship engulfed by another complication when the generator on the planet failed and while in his moments of saving the planet, he was ruthlessly thrown back to his planet Earth where he spend his time looking at the red planet and longing to be with his love again.